Baseball America published its annual Top 10 Astros prospects list today. I encourage you to go read the whole article, which predictably spends 75% of its content on Brady Aiken, but nonetheless sheds some insight into BA's thinking for these selections.
In fact, their thinking in general is revealed by this ballot. Of chief note are the center field prospects, Brett Phillips (#6) and Teoscar Hernandez (#9). While much has been made of these two players around The Crawfish Boxes, their leap from relative farm obscurity to nationally-recognized Top 10 is interesting.
Both Phillips and Hernandez are coming off season in which they statistically torched their career bests -- Phillips with a season line of .310/.375/.529 as a 20-year old playing against older competition, and Hernandez at the next levels above, hitting .292/.362/.535.
Performance aside, their leap might be a bit surprising to some, considering Phillips was a 6th-round pick in 2012 and Hernandez an undrafted free agent, especially since fellow 2014 statistical world-beaters Derek Fisher (1st Round, 2014), AJ Reed (2nd Round), and JD Davis (3rd Round) were nowhere to be found on the list, nor were fast-rising fan favorites outfielder Preston Tucker and 2B Tony Kemp. The thing that sets Phillips and Hernandez apart from those other fellows are tools, tools, tools. Baseball America historically loves the tools, and that shows in their list, which (for example) places 100-mph-fastball wunderkind Mike Foltynewicz at #3 despite a rocky 2014 campaign.
Other notable exclusions: Lance McCullers, Jr, (#5 after 2013 and having a pretty good year himself), Domingo Santana (#8), and Delino DeShields (#6 after the 2012 season).
Did anything about this list surprise you? There's certainly room for debate, and if there's one thing we love to do here at TCB, it's debate prospect lists!